Black Flag Imperial Stout - Beer Valley Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 207 | Reviews: 141 | Display Reviews Only:
4.15/5 rDev +9.2%
Pours dark and thick. Breathing in chocolate and roast and C-hops. The drink is lunch itself and so very dangerously drinkable. The throast is coated with coconut and oatmeal, roast and some chocolate and coffee. The hops are there and provide some delightful citrus but altogether undistinguishable. Full mouthfeel. Very good IS.
06-22-2008 03:21:02 | More by Sammy
2.63/5 rDev -30.8%
Bottle opened by bmanning. Thanks, Ben. 2008 vintage. Served in a SAVOR snifter.
Pour yields a black-bodied brew with a very, very small light mocha head that comes up and then dies down almost immediately without leaving anything behind. The nose is quite roasty with a bit of chocolate and a very mild coffee presence. The flavor is just way too dry with overwhelming roast and almost nothing else there. Feel is medium with a dry, dry finish. Not a big fan of this at all.
03-20-2011 20:43:42 | More by Thorpe429
4.1/5 rDev +7.9%
"Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats."
Closed casket black beneath two fingers of dark brown sugar colored foam. Since crown cracking produced a barely audible 'pffft', I gave the beer a vigorous pour. Retention is fairly good and glass coverage ain't too bad either... especially given the ABV.
The aroma is chock full of all the good things that result when barley is roasted to within an inch of its life. I can appreciate dark chocolate fudge, a shot of espresso, blackstrap molasses and citric hops. Let's see how many of the estimated 100+ IBUs are still kickin' after close to one year in the bottle.
Black Flag is good beer. Maybe even very good beer. But it isn't great beer because the malt:hop ratio is slanted too much toward the latter. Not that this American double stout is too bitter, but there's a grapefruit juice quality that gets in the way of the malt love. And beer of this style is all (or almost all) about the malt love.
Although the malt backbone is big, it isn't... shiver me timbers!... big. The fruity flavor of the hops (Warrior, Chinook, Columbus and Cascade) is too prominent, which leads to a malt profile that is less than complex. Beer Valley might have invented the world's first Black DIPA. That's good news for us hopheads. Not so good news for the rest of you.
The alcohol is impressively well-buried. Only the beginnings of tongue numbing and gullet warming betray the double-digit ABV. There's a great deal of mouthfilling volume, without a ton of thick and chewy stickiness.
Black Flag Imperial Stout would be better if Beer Valley Brewing eased back on the hops and added a bit more malt. It isn't "a beer drinking experience like no other other malted beverage on the planet" (website hyperbole), but it is a delicious stout if you're a quart low on lupulins. Just be prepared for a hefty shot of grapefruit juiciness.
06-13-2008 22:04:58 | More by BuckeyeNation
3.63/5 rDev -4.5%
Appearance: After a gusher of an opening, the beer settled down and pours a jet black color with nary a highlight; nice frothy mocha head that leaves massive amounts of lace
Smell: It's hard to differentiate between the Impy Stout and IPA aromas in this bitter beer; the 100 IBUs challenge the roasted charcoal aromas; dark chocolate and molasses, too; not sure I am that fond of it, but it is massive
Taste: Opens like the aroma, with a bitter assault fighting the charcoal roast; the beer is trying to make a point but the question is whether this is a point that is worth making; piney bitter and roasty after the swallow, with the overall effect of a scorched earth on the tongue
Mouthfeel: Full bodied, with moderate carbonation; very sticky
Drinkability: This is where it all comes tumbling down; the beer is more of a dare than a craft; it comes at you like Zhukov's army advancing on Berlin; I surrender
Thanks, JohnGalt1, for the opportunity
06-02-2008 00:39:04 | More by brentk56
4.05/5 rDev +6.6%
Another one I received courtesy of Unclejedi that I had been waiting to try out. This weekend decided to pop it open and see what it was made of. The pour was jet black as night. With a thick look to it as it sludged into the glass. A very nice three finger high tan head of lace then rose up over the top and hung on forever. Really thick looking with tons of side glass webs and a sticky presence to it. Very nice look here.
The aroma was very complex with a rich mix of malts and alcohol. The alcohol came across very clearly, and you had to let it warm to really be able to get the full depth of this one in. Lots of dark baker's chocolate, hints of vanilla and roasted coffee were mingling around in it. The flavor followed suit almost perfectly. The start was a nice rich chocolate and coffee like flavor that quickly became over run with unbalanced alcohol. A little harsh, but they cannot all be blended well. The subtle flavors underneath did not begin to show themselves for a quite a little while later, with some nice touches of licorice, vanilla, and molasses starting to come through. This was a very sweet stout, just a little to hot right now. The finish was filled with a musty bitter bite that was kind of odd and ill placed, but there was not much you could do about it. A very full-bodied stout, there was certainly no lack of carbonation here, as it never felt as though it was flat in any way. I did polish off this bottle, however it was a little rough. This one clocked in at over 11% and you felt every last drop of it. Really a very big stout.
Overall, this was not bad at all, though there are certainly better examples of the style out there. On looks alone though, this one is awesome, I just think there were a little too much hops thrown in the finish and the alcohol was very distracting, not being as mellowed as I thought it would be. Nevertheless, it was still a very solid beer, and if you have it around you, I would go out and try it.
04-16-2008 23:00:08 | More by mikesgroove
2.65/5 rDev -30.3%
Pours black with a nice tan head "if you try to get one." Very light, almost non-existant nose of roasted malt. Medium body with medium mouth feel. Tastes like an IPA if you didn't see it. Big bold bitter flavors with a finish of burnt coffee and bitter dark chocolate and roasted malt. Not as pleasant as it may sound...flavor profile is not particularly attractive. Basically, this would be a good IPA without the coffee/roasted malt finish; it would be an acceptable stout with less of the big bitter hop characteristics. I'm big on expectations...and, this one does not meet the expectations of a stout; perhaps an identify crisis going on here. But...ok....I'll say it..it does have a cool label.
05-16-2009 07:04:33 | More by GRG1313
3.05/5 rDev -19.7%
Appearance: Pours a dark brown, near black body with an incredibly thin, off-white head.
Smell: Unsweetened chocoate and scorched coffee along with chimney soot and smoke. Also, there's a hefty amount of citrusy grapefruit befitting an IPA.
Taste: Dark chocolate with a brief, fleeting sweetness. After that, it's a conveyor belt of flavors - charred fruits, pipe ash, and forgotten coffee grounds. Overabundance of citrus hops. The strong hop bitterness couples with a sharp roasted quality that borders on being astringent. Ashen, distinctly alcoholic finish.
Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation.
Drinkability: This beer was a debacle. Excessively hopped and needlessly astringent, to me, these qualities don't make for an enjoyable imperial stout.
12-09-2007 20:30:40 | More by ChainGangGuy
3.9/5 rDev +2.6%
This stout poured out with a nice looking black body and a light brown colored head. The head leaves some lacing behind on the glass. The smell is roasted and a little chocolatey. The taste of the beer gives off a dark chocolate sweetness up front that fades into an interesting hop bitterness in the end. The mouthfeel was moderately thick feeling and had a good carbonation level to it. Overall I thought this beer was quite good, haven't seen it in my area since 2009 though.
07-19-2011 16:59:09 | More by Knapp85
3.53/5 rDev -7.1%
Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.
Pours a rich opaque darkness with a finger of strongly steadfast ecru head. Lacing is tall and thick, lasting for a decent amount of time. The nose is dark malts, leather, dark roast coffee, and a tiny bit of chocolate. Th taste accentuates the coffee, retains a portion of the leather; a healthy hoppy bitterness invades and quickly seizes control of the government. The coup is finished by a subtle helping of powdered cocoa, which fades into obscurity along with the last vestiges of the old regime, a hint of coffee. The body is a heavy medium, with moderate carbonation and a pretty smooth feel. Overall, a bit on the bitter side, but fairly drinkable nonetheless.
03-18-2010 15:57:04 | More by TMoney2591
4.03/5 rDev +6.1%
Great Label! It's black, and aggressive, just like the beer!
As might be expected, it pours an opaque black body beneath a thick finger of light tan froth that recedes into a 1/2" thich creamy cap. The head retention is excellent, and it maintains a solid surface covering throughout the pint. The lacing is almost as good. It leaves wide curtains of patterned lace with the first settling of the head, and then thin creamy rings that blend into an almost solid curtain as you go.
The nose offers a deep roastiness that's just a bit charred, a mild note of red fruitiness, and some restrained grassy/piney hops.
The flavor is much fuller than the aroma suggests, and it's kind of flip-flopped. It's loaded with American hops that are piney, softly citrusy, grassy, leafy, and even a bit herbal and minty. Combined with the roasted malts, they also lend a delicate note of black licorice.
It starts hoppy, in a big way, and the maltiness takes a back seat. You almost don't even get the roastiness at first. Then, in the swallow, it's dark caramel and roasty side becomes more apparent. The hops stick in there a bit, but they're faded enough that you can get the malt notes.
It's anchored by a bold bitterness, and that cuts through it and lingers in the finish.
Overall I find it an interesting and compelling beer, but at the same time its "take no prisoners" aggression is a little bit much for extended drinkability.
08-11-2009 00:28:35 | More by NeroFiddled
3.93/5 rDev +3.4%
Pours black as night with 3 fingers of brown rocky head into a chalice. Superior head retention, & near perfect lacing
S: Chocolate, coffee & a bit of booze, plus husky grainyness
T: Baker's chocolate, a bit of iron, some oaky & vanilla notes up front. Slight dryness, some cakey notes, figs, some toasted grain, hints of raisin bit of leafy hops, & coffee as this warms. Finishes with a bit of boozeyness, pronounced dryness, some figgyness, & a bit of chalkiness& a bit of coffee grounds
MF: Medium bodied, oily; a bit of silkyness with low carbonation.
Drinks great for the ABV, one to age, a lot of subtleties are muted. But not a bad Imp Stout at all.
01-17-2008 06:31:15 | More by russpowell
3.9/5 rDev +2.6%
Darker mocha colored 2 finger fluffy thick head fades fairly slowly, nice layered lacing, pretty much pitch black beer.
Nose big dark malts, chalky chocolate and bakers dark choc, light roast, some black patent malt, lots of levels of chocolate, and even a little creamy but mostly powered chalky like, some bitterness from roast and light earthy hops. Some caramel and vanilla even.
Taste chewy oats right off, then loaded chocolate, lots of various choc with powdered cocoa, bakers choc, light malted milk ball even, bit of vanilla and caramel too. There is a bit of roast and coffee but barely, and hint of black patent or other black malt, light salty briny like flavor, and fair amount of bitterness thanks to the charred malts and some light earthy chewy almost spicy hops. Pure rich dark malts mostly. Finish is drier but still a bit sticky and sweet, thick rich and syrupy with long lingering layers of dark malts coating my mouth, lingering chocolate, light roast, caramel and light earthy hops with decent bitterness.
Mouth is fuller bodied, rich slightly creamy, thick, good carb, just a bit of warming booze, and would be better if not for the syrupy sticky long finish.
Overall pretty good, this has nice chocolate, dark malts, nice hops, a bit creamy and rich, not overly burnt or briney, booze of hidden well too. Only real problem is the sticky syrupy finish but that can be expected for a beer of this caliber.
10-30-2012 13:46:16 | More by jlindros
3.95/5 rDev +3.9%
Bottle shared by slasher007.
Pours dark brown with a nice sized khaki head. Aroma is quite a bit of citrus hops as well as some roasted malt. The taste is roasted malt with a solid hop presence. A different take on an imperial stout that I do like. The mouthfeel is where I don't like the beer, as I feel it is too thin for a beer of this style. Overall, it is a very good beer I just wish it was thicker.
01-07-2010 18:17:00 | More by Mora2000
3.68/5 rDev -3.2%
Dark, rich, bitter black ale.
Nice chestnut edge in the glass-- not really black like typical stouts. My 22 oz bottle poured nicely and while the head wasn't big there was enough to look decent, and plenty of carbonation in the mouth. Some nice roasty aromas once the beer warms up a little.
This thing is just really alcoholic and plenty bitter. The warmth seeps down the throat. Quite sippable, but I miss the balanced maltiness of a barley wine. Definitely austere, more like a bitter cordial than a mellow brandy.
09-17-2010 04:17:37 | More by mactrail
4.22/5 rDev +11.1%
Pours with a pitch black, motor oil color. It is hardly carbonated at all, a few lonely bubbles mar the shiny surface. Aromatic notes of burnt prunes, port, alcohol, concentrated malt, figs, . Something akin to a green, almost vegetal note is also here, actually it is probably a green apple note. The aromatic finish is dominated by the ample malt notes; black coffee, burnt caramel, chocolate malt balls and toffee are found towards the end if you dig for it underneath the up front aromatics.
Wow this beer is much more viscous and thick than I was expecting. Sweet malt notes are ample, yet are quite well held in check by the alcohol and roasted notes. The beer finishes with a touch of astringent burnt grain husk and a bit of a chalky notes. The finish has a solid hop bitterness to it that, while not overwhelming, helps to balance the sweet malt character and lingers on in the long finish. The beer is still a bit green around the edges; green apple notes and a lack of carbonation are certainly noticeable. This beer leans more towards the chocolate side of the dark grain spectrum, but still does have a nice, supporting burnt grain character that is especially more noticeable towards the finish. Burnt fruit notes of prunes, raisins and figs are quite noticeable up front.
The lack of carbonation certainly hurts this beer, though being an Imperial Stout it can certainly handle the loss much better than most styles. The longer I sip away this 22oz bottle the more I come to appreciate the balance that this beer strikes. Smooth and mellow (well as mellow as a 11.5% beast can be) with a striking chocolate character that is just balanced by a subtler, yet more aggressive roasted grain notes. Certainly black and silky, sexy even and that is certainly not something I would have guessed during the first third of this beer. This is a beer that definitely benefits from a sample size of at least 16oz. This may certainly be a bit much to ask for from a Imperial Stout, but this one needs it and I don't necessarily think that the alcohol is the one doing the talking here (though that certainly does not hurt).
11-10-2006 17:29:53 | More by Gueuzedude
4.35/5 rDev +14.5%
On-tap at the Beachwood BBQ, in Seal Beach, CA,
A: Pours a dark black, with a small tan head, almost brown, when poured into a goblet,
S: Smells of dark malts, some caramel, chocolate, and coffee.
T: While most big stouts I have had have been dominated by coffee, this one is dominated by chocolate, big chocolate notes overtake the whole stout backed with some light coffee flavours and molasses, very tasty.
M: Very thick, robust and chewy, a very nicely put together stout.
D: I really liked this beer, it is really good on-tap, a really well put together stout, very well done. It is heavy, but has a nice feel to it, which makes it easy to drink.
09-04-2007 00:17:04 | More by Halcyondays
3.55/5 rDev -6.6%
Pours a deep dark brown that's almost pitch black and completely opaque with faint dark amber/mahogany edges when held to a light source. Two finger frothy, pillowy beige head with excellent retention, only slowly fading into a lasting ring that coats the glass with chunky rings of soapy lacing.
Roasted malt aroma with a huge earthy floral hop presence with citrus notes. There is a bit of chocolate, toffee, coffee, licorice and toast underneath but this beers smells extremely hoppy, especially for the style. Their is a good bit of citrus peel and grapefruit along with some earthy pine. The hops even overpower the roasted notes of the malt.
Chewy resinous full body with a huge bitter earthy hop blast up front that lingers over the roasted malt body into a dry bitter finish with plenty of alcohol heat. Lots of earthy dry pine notes as well as crisp citrus notes from the hops. Silky chocolate malt with hints of roasted coffee, toffee, oatmeal, nut and licorice. I wouldn't say that this is well balanced because the hops are so dominant, but the malty body provides a good countering flavor. This is the hoppiest stout I've ever had, to the point where they almost overtake all of the other flavors. I would prefer if the malt presence was a little stronger but I still enjoyed this beer.
10-20-2009 05:50:57 | More by corby112
3.93/5 rDev +3.4%
Appears pitch black with a thick, 2 finger head of dark tan that retains nicely. Scattered streaks of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of roasted grains, cocoa, vanilla, coffee, and some ripe, dark fruit.
Taste echoes the aromas with more of a raisin flavor coming through, along with the husky graininess that carries some charred, roasty flavors.
Mouthfeel is somewhat bitter with the roastiness dominating the palate that is already on the thick, chewy side.
03-11-2009 20:31:24 | More by weeare138
4.03/5 rDev +6.1%
A; Poured a deep brown almost black but in the light as it poured it was dark brown. Had a nice tannish head which looked very good.Lots of bubbles and lacing
S: Chocolate, sharp booze notes on the nose, roasted malts, coffee
T: Toasted and burnt grains, cocoa, sharp booze feel, the end has a battle of chocolate and coffee, not your fufu coffee either, more like my gramps Folgers!
M: Nice carbonation, warming, full bodied
D: Great drink and easy to drink.
11-11-2010 01:22:00 | More by barleywinefiend
Black Flag Imperial Stout from Beer Valley Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 207 ratings.